who the legal heirs of the decedents Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado are

THE LAWFUL HEIRS OF JOSEFA DELGADO

To determine who the lawful heirs of Josefa Delgado are, the questioned status of the cohabitation of her mother Felisa Delgado with Ramon Osorio must first be addressed.

As mentioned earlier, presumptions of law are either conclusive or disputable. Conclusive presumptions are inferences which the law makes so peremptory that no contrary proof, no matter how strong, may overturn them. On the other hand, disputable presumptions, one of which is the presumption of marriage, can be relied on only in the absence of sufficient evidence to the contrary.

Little was said of the cohabitation or alleged marriage of Felisa Delgado and Ramon Osorio. The oppositors (now respondents) chose merely to rely on the disputable presumption of marriage even in the face of such countervailing evidence as (1) the continued use by Felisa and Luis (her son with Ramon Osorio) of the surname Delgado and (2) Luis Delgado’s and Caridad Concepcion’s Partida de Casamiento identifying Luis as “hijo natural de Felisa Delgado” (the natural child of Felisa Delgado).

All things considered, we rule that these factors sufficiently overcame the rebuttable presumption of marriage. Felisa Delgado and Ramon Osorio were never married. Hence, all the children born to Felisa Delgado out of her relations with Ramon Osorio and Lucio Campo, namely, Luis and his half-blood siblings Nazario, Edilberta, Jose, Jacoba, Gorgonio and the decedent Josefa, all surnamed Delgado, were her natural children.

Pertinent to this matter is the following observation:

Suppose, however, that A begets X with B, and Y with another woman, C; then X and Y would be natural brothers and sisters, but of half-blood relationship. Can they succeed each other reciprocally?

The law prohibits reciprocal succession between illegitimate children and legitimate children of the same parent, even though there is unquestionably a tie of blood between them. It seems that to allow an illegitimate child to succeed ab intestato (from) another illegitimate child begotten with a parent different from that of the former, would be allowing the illegitimate child greater rights than a legitimate child. Notwithstanding this, however, we submit that succession should be allowed, even when the illegitimate brothers and sisters are only of the half-blood. The reason impelling the prohibition on reciprocal successions between legitimate and illegitimate families does not apply to the case under consideration. That prohibition has for its basis the difference in category between illegitimate and legitimate relatives. There is no such difference when all the children are illegitimate children of the same parent, even if begotten with different persons. They all stand on the same footing before the law, just like legitimate children of half-blood relation. We submit, therefore, that the rules regarding succession of legitimate brothers and sisters should be applicable to them. Full blood illegitimate brothers and sisters should receive double the portion of half-blood brothers and sisters; and if all are either of the full blood or of the half-blood, they shall share equally.

Here, the above-named siblings of Josefa Delgado were related to her by full-blood, except Luis Delgado, her half-brother. Nonetheless, since they were all illegitimate, they may inherit from each other. Accordingly, all of them are entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgado.

We note, however, that the petitioners before us are already the nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces of Josefa Delgado. Under Article 972 of the new Civil Code, the right of representation in the collateral line takes place only in favor of the children of brothers and sisters (nephews and nieces). Consequently, it cannot be exercised by grandnephews and grandnieces. Therefore, the only collateral relatives of Josefa Delgado who are entitled to partake of her intestate estate are her brothers and sisters, or their children who were still alive at the time of her death on September 8, 1972. They have a vested right to participate in the inheritance. The records not being clear on this matter, it is now for the trial court to determine who were the surviving brothers and sisters (or their children) of Josefa Delgado at the time of her death. Together with Guillermo Rustia, they are entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgado in accordance with Article 1001 of the new Civil Code:

Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other one-half.

Since Josefa Delgado had heirs other than Guillermo Rustia, Guillermo could not have validly adjudicated Josefa’s estate all to himself. Rule 74, Section 1 of the Rules of Court is clear. Adjudication by an heir of the decedent’s entire estate to himself by means of an affidavit is allowed only if he is the sole heir to the estate:

SECTION 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs. – If the decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age, or the minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for the purpose, the parties may, without securing letters of administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds, and should they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of partition. If there is only one heir, he may adjudicate to himself the estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of the register of deeds. x x x (emphasis supplied)

THE LAWFUL HEIRS OF GUILLERMO RUSTIA

Intervenor (now co-respondent) Guillerma Rustia is an illegitimate child of Guillermo Rustia. As such, she may be entitled to successional rights only upon proof of an admission or recognition of paternity. She, however, claimed the status of an acknowledged illegitimate child of Guillermo Rustia only after the death of the latter on February 28, 1974 at which time it was already the new Civil Code that was in effect.

Under the old Civil Code (which was in force till August 29, 1950), illegitimate children absolutely had no hereditary rights. This draconian edict was, however, later relaxed in the new Civil Code which granted certain successional rights to illegitimate children but only on condition that they were first recognized or acknowledged by the parent.

Under the new law, recognition may be compulsory or voluntary. Recognition is compulsory in any of the following cases:

(1) in cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when the period of the offense coincides more or less with that of the conception;

(2) when the child is in continuous possession of status of a child of the alleged father (or mother) by the direct acts of the latter or of his family;

(3) when the child was conceived during the time when the mother cohabited with the supposed father;

(4) when the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the defendant is his father. 

On the other hand, voluntary recognition may be made in the record of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record or in any authentic writing.

Intervenor Guillerma sought recognition on two grounds: first, compulsory recognition through the open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child and second, voluntary recognition through authentic writing.

There was apparently no doubt that she possessed the status of an illegitimate child from her birth until the death of her putative father Guillermo Rustia. However, this did not constitute acknowledgment but a mere ground by which she could have compelled acknowledgment through the courts. Furthermore, any (judicial) action for compulsory acknowledgment has a dual limitation: the lifetime of the child and the lifetime of the putative parent. On the death of either, the action for compulsory recognition can no longer be filed. In this case, intervenor Guillerma’s right to claim compulsory acknowledgment prescribed upon the death of Guillermo Rustia on February 28, 1974.

The claim of voluntary recognition (Guillerma’s second ground) must likewise fail. An authentic writing, for purposes of voluntary recognition, is understood as a genuine or indubitable writing of the parent (in this case, Guillermo Rustia). This includes a public instrument or a private writing admitted by the father to be his. Did intervenor’s report card from the University of Santo Tomas and Josefa Delgado’s obituary prepared by Guillermo Rustia qualify as authentic writings under the new Civil Code? Unfortunately not. The report card of intervenor Guillerma did not bear the signature of Guillermo Rustia. The fact that his name appears there as intervenor’s parent/guardian holds no weight since he had no participation in its preparation. Similarly, while witnesses testified that it was Guillermo Rustia himself who drafted the notice of death of Josefa Delgado which was published in the SUNDAY TIMES on September 10, 1972, that published obituary was not the authentic writing contemplated by the law. What could have been admitted as an authentic writing was the original manuscript of the notice, in the handwriting of Guillermo Rustia himself and signed by him, not the newspaper clipping of the obituary. The failure to present the original signed manuscript was fatal to intervenor’s claim.

The same misfortune befalls the ampun-ampunan, Guillermina Rustia Rustia, who was never adopted in accordance with law. Although a petition for her adoption was filed by Guillermo Rustia, it never came to fruition and was dismissed upon the latter’s death. We affirm the ruling of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals holding her a legal stranger to the deceased spouses and therefore not entitled to inherit from them ab intestato. We quote:

Adoption is a juridical act, a proceeding in rem, which [created] between two persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation. Only an adoption made through the court, or in pursuance with the procedure laid down under Rule 99 of the Rules of Court is valid in this jurisdiction. It is not of natural law at all, but is wholly and entirely artificial. To establish the relation, the statutory requirements must be strictly carried out, otherwise, the adoption is an absolute nullity. The fact of adoption is never presumed, but must be affirmatively [proven] by the person claiming its existence.

Premises considered, we rule that two of the claimants to the estate of Guillermo Rustia, namely, intervenor Guillerma Rustia and the ampun-ampunan Guillermina Rustia Rustia, are not lawful heirs of the decedent. Under Article 1002 of the new Civil Code, if there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. Therefore, the lawful heirs of Guillermo Rustia are the remaining claimants, consisting of his sisters, nieces and nephews.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 155733, January 27, 2006 ]IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATES OF THE DECEASED JOSEFA DELGADO AND GUILLERMO RUSTIA CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. DE DE LA ROSA AND OTHER HEIRS OF LUIS DELGADO, NAMELY, HEIRS OF CONCHA VDA. DE AREVALO, HEIRS OF LUISA DELGADO VDA. DE DANAO, ANGELA DELGADO ARESPACOCHAGA, TERESA DELGADO PERLAS, CAROLINA DELGADO-ARESPACOCHAGA, RODOLFO DELGADO, BENJAMIN DELGADO, GLICERIA DELGADO AND CLEOFAS DELGADO; AND HEIRS OF GORGONIO DELGADO, NAMELY, RAMON DELGADO CAMPO, CARLOS DELGADO CAMPO, CLARITA DELGADO CAMPO-REIZA, YOLANDA DELGADO ENCINAS, FELISA DELGADO CAMPO-ENCINAS AND MELINDA DELGADO CAMPO-MADARANG, PETITIONERS, VS. HEIRS OF MARCIANA RUSTIA VDA. DE DAMIAN, NAMELY, GUILLERMO R. DAMIAN AND JOSE R. DAMIAN; HEIRS OF HORTENCIA RUSTIA CRUZ, NAMELY, TERESITA CRUZ-SISON, HORACIO R. CRUZ, JOSEFINA CRUZ-RODIL, AMELIA CRUZ-ENRIQUEZ AND FIDEL R. CRUZ, JR.; HEIRS OF ROMAN RUSTIA, SR., NAMELY, JOSEFINA RUSTIA ALBANO, VIRGINIA RUSTIA PARAISO, ROMAN RUSTIA, JR., SERGIO RUSTIA, FRANCISCO RUSTIA, LETICIA RUSTIA-MIRANDA; AND GUILLERMINA RUSTIA, AS OPPOSITORS;[1] AND GUILLERMA RUSTIA, AS INTERVENOR,[2] RESPONDENTS.[3] Tags: conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect

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